October 30th, 2022Camera win leads to love of photography
ARTIST Kaye Dixon grew up in Brisbane, moved to Melbourne in 1980 and then to Yandoit in 2000. Her love of photography started when she won a camera at a school fete.
In her 40s, when she moved to Yandoit, Kaye founded a holistic healing school and studied Visual Arts of
Photography at Bendigo University.
She then discovered her love of alternative printmaking techniques doing
workshops at Gold Street Studios in Trentham East. Kaye specialises in 19th century
photographic printing techniques, particularly gum bichromate, platinum, ziatype
and cyanotype processes. She chatted with Donna Kelly.
Donna: What do you love about what you do?
Kaye: I love the magic of making hand prints and not knowing how the image
will turn out till it’s washed in the water after exposure to UV light. I make digital
negatives and coat French paper with a photo sensitive emulsion of ferric ammonium
citrate in combination with potassium ferricyanide to produce the blue print or
Donna: What drew you to your particular artforms?
Kaye: In my current work I combine sculpture, (built from found artifacts)
painting, and digital photography to produce hand-made prints.
I first started building the boats and my theme was memory. It’s believed bones
hold our memories. Living on a horse farm I was able to collect horse, sheep, bird,
and kangaroo bones. Some of the bones sadly came from roadkill.
I also collected seedpods from along the Brisbane River on my visits to my
parents, I grew up on that river so it holds memories of my wild young self.
As I was making the boats, I imagined them sailing over the ocean under
starry skies. In this body of work, this desire has been achieved through painting,
photography, and the alchemy of cyanotype. Bone women remind us to remember to
journey home to the magic and medicine deep inside the soul of the feminine.
Donna: What does your art say about you?
Kaye: The journey of the bone women is based on the way of the feminine. Using
intuitive wisdom and navigating by the stars over the seas to find new land; where
the sacredness of Mother Earth, the mysteries of the universe and the wild feminine
is revered. The bones hold lost and half-forgotten memories of Wild Woman. It is
her connection to wildish nature that carries stories, dreams, words, and song. Wild
Woman listens to what is seen and unseen; she whispers from our night dreams.
I acknowledge the ongoing repression of women and devastation of the
environment and the strong link between the two. I like to re-imagine woman’s place
in the world.
Donna: What do you hope your work says to others?
Kaye: The central themes in my work – a love of nature, mythology and concern
for the environment – are underpinned by my belief in the sacredness of all things.
I researched the mythology of each star constellation the bone women are sailing
under and all images are part of a narrative. For example, the scallop shell with bone
women reminds me of Aphrodite born from sea foam.
All over the world there is myth and narrative knowledge to do with the seven
sisters. Also they have always been navigational beacons.
Our First Nations people believe what happens on country is reflected in the sky.
For example, the emu within the Milky Way is in two of the images, one pointing
up and one pointing down, and for indigenous people this tells them when to collect
emu eggs and when to let them hatch.
We need to remember the sacredness of all things, that every living thing has a
spirit – animals, plants, stones…bone women remember when they lived in harmony
with the land; when humans, animals and plants were temples of living spirits.
Australia has the fastest species extinction rate on the planet and we are facing a
climate crisis. We need to remember.
Donna: Where can people view your art?
Kaye: I have an exhibition, Bone Women – an exhibition of mixed media
prints, at Gold Street Studios in Trentham East until November 20. Viewing by
appointment through Ellie on 5424 1835 or email@example.com.
Image: Margund Sallowsky